Listen To Me Marlon review: ‘A portrait of a restless ego’

PUBLISHED: 14:18 28 October 2015

Marlon Brando in 1951. Picture: Getty

Marlon Brando in 1951. Picture: Getty

Archant

For a supposed mumbler, Marlon Brando’s voice proves his most compelling weapon in this self-narrated biography, says Michael Joyce.

There’s no rest for the deceased these days. Before he died Robin Williams filed a deed restricting the use of his image for 25 years after his death. Marlon Brando left behind hundreds of hours of cassette-recorded reflections he made during his career, which have been carefully edited down to make this film; effectively a talking autobiography narrated from beyond the grave. The audio material is illustrated with home movies, library footage, movie clips and some new shots using Brando’s digitized head. Despite his much proclaimed hatred for fame and celebrity, I don’t think Marlon would object. Well, it’s better than advertising chocolate.

Sanctioned by the Brando estate, this is a straightforward, chronological telling of his life story, growing up with little education in Nebraska with two violent alcoholic parents, going to New York, joining the Actor’s Studio, becoming a star on Broadway and transferring his fame to the silver screen. The Brando story has been covered in numerous biographies, so there’s little new here; though it is notable that while the film pays enormous tribute to Stella Adler, it ignores Lee Strasberg.

Brando was the pioneer for a generation of young method actors and he was also the model for the actor as reluctant celebrity and dilettante political activist. This is a portrait of a restless ego and talent in search of mayhem and amusement; a man repelled by his own failings who reflected that back as a firm commitment to right the wrongs of others. What struck me most was that for all his reputation as a mumbler, this film where he is all voice reveals him to be a great orator. His voice was his most compelling weapon.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Yesterday, 23:03

Arsenal welcomed five young Arsenal supporters to their training ground for an unforgettable day out.

Yesterday, 21:26

Read what new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan had to say after he joined the club on Monday.

Yesterday, 19:24

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he isn’t worried about playing Mesut Ozil and new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the same Arsenal starting XI.

Arsenal have completed the signing of midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Manchester United in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez. Read on for 10 facts you may not know about Arsenal’s new signing...

Arsenal have completed the signing of midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Manchester United in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez.

Yesterday, 16:00

The latest news from the local boxing scene

Yesterday, 14:20

Published ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, Agnes Grunwald-Spier’s latest book asks how women’s experience of the terrible events of WW2 differed from men’s

Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch who played in the women’s orchestra at Auschwitz will join other survivors at an event to commemorate this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day at JW3, the London Jewish Cultural Centre,in Hampstead.

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now